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Barrett-Jackson to feature the four-ton "Thundertaker" at April Palm Beach sale

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On: Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 1:18PM | By: Andrew W Davis


Barrett-Jackson to feature the four-ton "Thundertaker" at April Palm Beach sale

Not that many people say this very often, but it's probably a good thing that I'm not rich. I would, naturally, spend a large amount of my money on cars, which is not a bad thing, it's just that the cars I'd spend money on wouldn't exactly endear me to the rest of my family.

Granted, having the world's largest collection of station wagons wouldn't be the worst thing for them to inherit, but even with the recent—and forecast—increase in values for wagons, chances are that they'd just break even if they sold the lot.

Still, they'd do a damn sight better than the inheritors of one-of-a-kind customs like this silver monstrosity, known as “Thundertaker”. As I predict its sale at Barrett-Jackson's Palm Springs auction in April will show, when you commission a car to be built just for you, chances are good that you will be the only one who will ever pay full price for it.

Now everyone is being coy as usual as to how much this four-ton beast actually cost to create, but they do give you a few tidbits of info that show that the answer is “far too much”.

Take their statement that this “bespoke 1960 Cadillac 'Thundertaker' is the result of a four-year, 10,000-man-hour build”, for instance. The builder, Fuller Moto of Atlanta, is a very highly-rated—and therefore expensive—custom car shop. I'll let you imagine what the per-hour rate they charge is, but let's agree it ain't minimum wage.

And given the fact that not only did they start with a limo (and not a hearse) body, but that they customized, massaged or created out of whole cloth nearly every bit of this car's bodywork—then mounted it to a custom one-off frame—it is apparent that this had to be the work of expert craftsmen, not interns. [Hell, even the glass was custom-made for this car.]

Then you have to take into account the cost of the parts from which this thing was assembled. Everything—including each bolt—had to be the best available, whether or not it would ever actually be seen. This means she is at least as expensive beneath her body as her body itself, especially when you read about all the top-shelf gear used on its chassis and driveline, including modern suspension, brakes, and a GM ZZ454 big-block crate motor with matching automatic transmission.

And we haven't even gotten to this thing's interior.

Here's how Hot Rod magazine describes it:
“There are only 12 switches within the driver’s reach. Everything in the car, including the suspension, remote start, windows, stereo, and so on, can be controlled by an ISIS iPhone app. There is a partition between the two front seats that gives access to two TV screens operated by two Xbox game consoles. The cavernous interior has two Vintage Air Gen-IV A/C units, one in the front dash and another between the front seats. All the electronics are powered by two batteries hidden in the back and one in the front bumper. The interior was a mammoth undertaking. The two front bench seats are original ’60 Cadillac seat frames, but the rear seat is totally custom. Everything below the belt line is real white leather; everything above the beltline is ultra white leather. Price Upholstery in Birmingham, Alabama covered the entire interior. All of the grey material is real ’60 Cadillac limousine fabric that has been sitting on the shelves since new, Fuller grabbed the last new material known to exist.”

They also bought up a huge number of actual classic Cadillac hardware to use on the car, including everything from interior door handles and armrests to lamp covers and speaker grilles. [Ironically, their stated goal of making “hearse purists happy” by not cutting up any quality hearses to build this car is offset by making every other Cadillac purist upset by buying up many of the parts they need to restore other cars...]

And as if this build wasn't strange enough already, for some reason the buyer wanted to add a sunroof, too, but—as you'd expect by now—not just any sunroof. No, he wanted one he thought would qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records as the “longest operating sunroof in the world.” [No word on whether or not he achieved his goal.]

The Fuller folks finally finished their task in time to display it at the 2012 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association) show, where it was apparently a hit. I can only hope it was considered as much by the person who commissioned it in the first place, as God only knows what he had invested in it.

All I can say for sure is that he apparently got out of it everything he wanted—or just got tired of it, as builders of customs like this often do—as he's putting it on the auction block (where builders of customs like this often do) at a Barrett-Jackson auction—in this case, their Palm Beach event, April 8-10.

So if you, like the consignor, have what Hot Rod magazine calls “both the cash and the kink” to own the world's most overdone hearse-shaped custom car, make sure to be at that B-J sale.

But don't go looking for it on the main stage. Something tells me it'll be like the GM Futurliner—small enough for the tent, but too big/heavy to run up the ramp for its turn “under the lights” in front of the auctioneer.

Then again, something tells me it's going to be nigh impossible to avoid seeing this thing in all its shining silver glory, regardless of where they put it. But that's not a bad thing, as it's likely to be the best per-pound value of the sale. [Cost of the aircraft hangar-sized garage required to store it not included.]


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KinnoMalty | 1:17AM (Tue, Nov 22, 2016)

Everything below the belt line is real white leather; everything above the beltline is ultra white leather for Car Service in Washington DC



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